We Helped Persuade Berkeley City Council to Delay & Modify BESO for 1-4 Unit Homes

Regina Beatus on a recent visit to New York

Regina Beatus on a recent visit to New York

BESO–the Berkeley Energy Savings Ordinance–had it second reading before the City Council Tuesday, Jan, 27, 2015.  We, the League of Women Voters of Berkeley Albany Emeryville, had raised our concerns about the possible impact of high costs of the energy audits on homeowners in a letter  to the City Council in November, before the first reading. Click to read our letter: LWVBAE to City Council re BESO Building Energy Saving Ordinance

Because of concerns we, other citizens and organizations and some Council Members raised at the first reading, the Council instructed staff to return with a modified ordinance.  The modified ordinance  suspends the requirements that 1-4 family homes pay for such audits for at least 3 years, while the City explores other options.

Regina Beatus, Chair of our Climate Action Team, who had drafted the League’s original letter, spoke in support of this change at the Jan. 27 Council meeting.

She sent us the following informal report about the evening.

“Last night I attended the City Council meeting and spoke on behalf of the League!  The item for BESO ended up being on the agenda after 10:00pm, but it was O.K.  I actually got to mention the League name twice, because I started to speak under the Consent Calendar but was told I needed to wait for the Action Item on BESO.  The turn-out was good for speakers on this issue.  Many people were there after reading about BESO in Berkeleyside.  See the December 4th article with the League quoted often in the last paragraphs!! 

The Council decided to wait with single family homes and consider them in three years, 2018, after some assessment of the program with larger buildings.  Single family homes may still need an audit at the point of sale.

I actually really enjoyed the entire meeting!  A woman I sat next to forwarded the Berkeleyside article to me today with quotes from our letter.  She was very appreciative that the League weighed in on this Ordinance.  She did ask me why the League was interested in BESO.  I filled her in about our Climate Change Team, etc.”

You can learn more about our Climate Change Team by clicking to visit the page–and search for other stories on our Climate Change activities and speakers on our website.

Want to attend public meetings and events to represent the league?  You can do so on a one time basis–wearing a League button, taking a few notes and reporting back in a short informal report.  Contact Nancy Bickel at president@lwvbae.org.

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